Researchers have developed robots that learn to live with damaged parts in less than a minute, instead of the many hours needed by traditional self-learning systems. The system paves the way for robots to be used in a wide variety of settings, coping with damage that occurs in the real world. Possible applications include robots looking after the elderly, rescuing earthquake victims or doing housework.Details are in the journal Nature.We marvel at the robots we see in films: some try to wipe out humanity, such as Ultron in the recent Avengers film, while others like C-3PO in Star Wars are helpful albeit slightly annoying. But they are the still the stuff of science fiction, partly because if the slightest thing goes wrong with a real-life robot it usually stops working altogether. In a step towards making the machines of the movies a reality, French and US researchers have developed a learning algorithm that enables robots to adapt very quickly when they are damaged. Factory and laboratory robots have a strictly pre-defined way of operating. So if a component breaks, it normally has to be replaced for the robot to continue with its task.Most self-learning systems that seek alternative ways of… Read full this story
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